CHOCOLATE FRUIT & NUT SQUARES – SNACK

Combining nuts and dates to create tasty raw treats is nothing new, a very well known chocolate confectionery brand has been doing a fruit & nut bar since 1926 and we all remember the ad campaign slogan sung to the tune of The Nutcracker!  I understand that the point to snack foods is that they are convenient. That being said putting an hour’s effort into making your own treats means you have a ready supply in the fridge for weeks, but more importantly you are avoiding ingredients such as artificial flavourings, emulsifiers and inflammatory vegetable fats, as well excessive sugar and trans fats.

A standard shop-bought fruit & nut bar will serve up 270 calories and 30g of sugar, which is  listed as the second ingredient after milk. In comparison this recipe provides 182 calories per serving and only 8g of sugars. There is no added vegetable oils with the only fats coming from the natural fats found in whole nuts and seeds that are linked to improved cognitive function, lower body fat, better blood lipid profile and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Using whole, natural foods provides fibre and a range of nutrients including antioxidant vitamin E, biotin for healthy skin, hair and nails, magnesium, manganese and copper. Even chocolate has its benefits but you must choose the darker kind. The darker the chocolate, the less likely there is to be added ingredients such as soya lecithin and other emulsifiers. I like either Green & Blacks Organic 85% or Lindt as ingredients are simply cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla.

Given the sheer variety of nuts, seeds and superfood powders available these days there are endless options to cater for everyone’s tastes. Chocolate and hazelnuts are an age-old match made in heaven but you can use equivalent quantities of other nuts and seeds depending on your preferences or whatever you have available. You can also leave out the chocolate (but why would you want to do that?!).

(makes 16 bars)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (140g) whole almonds
  • 1 cup (135g) whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup (40g) hulled hemp seeds (NUA NATURALS)*
  • 10 dates (sulphur-free, pitted)
  • 1/4 cup (3-4 tbsp) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) jumbo oats
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour(NUA NATURALS)*
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate
  • Coconut oil for lining the baking tray (OPTIMA)*

Topping Options: toasted coconut flakes, cacao nibs, chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. Line a bakingtray with parchment and spread with a little melted coconut oil.
  2. In a blenderpulse the almonds and hazelnuts until they look like a coarse sand.
  3. Add the hemp seeds, dates, maple syrup, salt, oats andcoconut flour. Blitz again until well combined. The mixture should ‘stick’ a little when pressed.
  4. Dump the mixture onto the lined baking tray and use your hands to press down until its about an inch thick. If the tray is larger than normal, fold the parchment in over the free edge of the mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
  6. In the meantime break the chocolate into small pieces and place into aPyrex dish over a pan of hot water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and then remove from the stove.
  7. Remove the nut mixture from the fridge and pourthe chocolate over the top, tilting the baking tray around until the chocolate is evenly spread.
  8. Sprinkle with your chosen topping and place back into the fridge to set.
  9. Once set use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for 8 weeks.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
182 13g 5g 13.3g 8g 3g
An excellent source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium & antioxidants

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

‘CHIA-LOVE’ BREAKFAST BOWLS – BREAKFAST

Everyone says they don’t “do” St. Valentines Day but secretly we all kind of buy-in to it, if not only to indulge in a little self love. Its not V-Day for another week yet,  but it’s good to be prepared so Im sharing this shamelessly pink breakfast recipe with you in advance.

Truthfully, only after I put the ingredients together did I realise that pomegranate fruit and maca powder are considered in many cultures as natural aphrodisiacs, and have been associated with hormonal health and fertility.  In the interest of science, there is some evidence that can attest to pomegranate juice increasing salivary testosterone levels in men by about 24%; whilst the ingestion of Maca root appears to increase libido in both genders, with three notable studies showing fairly consistent results.

A 30g serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fibre, 4g of protein and 5g of omega-3 fatty acid as well as providing almost a third of the recommended daily intake magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. This is particularly impressive when you consider just 30g has only 140 calories, making chia seeds highly nutrient dense.

This fibre and protein rich recipe is an ideal breakfast option and will provide sustained energy and keep you satisfied well into the day whilst the antioxidants and phytonutrients found in raspberries and pomegranate support the immune system and help to repair cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals.

RECIPE

(makes 2 breakfast servings or 4 small, snack-size servings)

  • 2 cups (475 ml) of unsweetened almond or coconut milk (I use Ecomil or Oatly brands)
  • 1/2 cup (6 level tbsp) whole chia seeds*
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of maca powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder*
  • 1 cup (about 125g) raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (about 4 tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp light tahini (I use Meridian)

To serve

  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • A few raspberries and some pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

  1. Put the chia seeds, milk, maca, vanilla and ashwagandha (if you’re using it) into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously, ensuring the chia seeds are well combined. Leave aside either overnight or for 10-20 minutes until the mixture thickens (it will look like frog spawn!).
  2. Transfer most of the raspberries and pomegranate to a blender cup (reserve some of the fruit for a topping). Add the tahini and a splash of water. Pulse the fruit until completely mixed.  It will be quite thick which is fine. If you don’t have a blender you could mash the fruit and tahini together with a fork or use a hand-held blender.
  3. When the chia seeds thick and gloopy, combine them with the fruit mixture and stir well.
  4. Transfer to bowls or airtight glass jars (for portability) and top with coconut and fruit. Enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Per half portion 420 29g 11g 42g 14g 21g
Per quarter portion 105 7.25g 2.75g 10.5g 3.5g 5.3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

ROAST BEETROOT (NEON PINK) HUMMUS -SNACK

This neon pink hummus gives that same cheerful boost a bright new lipstick gives you (sorry guys…I cant think of a male equivalent!).

Chickpeas are a wonderfully cheap and versatile legume. Legumes are rich in protein, fibre and folic acid and are ranked 4th place in the top 10 most most nutrient dense foods.  Hummus is a great snack as its healthy fats keep you satisfied between meals. Meridian Light Tahini (sesame seed butter) is a rich source of lignans, a cancer-fighting phytonutrient and is also delicious on its own spread on some sliced apple.

The vibrant colour of this recipe is provided by beetroot – an athlete’s secret weapon!  If you’re a regular exerciser, especially if you partake in endurance sports (marathons and triathlons), beetroot should absolutely be a regular part of your diet.  Nitrates in beetroot boost energy and performance by helping to oxygenate the blood, whilst anti-inflammatory compounds facilitate post-exercise muscle recovery.

You don’t have to roast the beets before hand – you could lightly steam them or use raw beets if you want.  As a snack I’m serving this hummus on a slice of toasted rye bread (I use Biona 100% Rye bread) with a few slivers of avocado and a sprinkle if Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds.

(makes about 6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized beetroot, peeled.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Meridian Light Tahini*
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Extra olive oil for serving
  • Nua naturals hemp seeds for garnish (optional)*

To roast the beetroot:

Preheat oven to 220 celsius. Individually wrap the beetroot in aluminium foil and place onto the oven rack. Roast for about 50 minutes. Remove and allow to cool fully before preparing the hummus.

Prepare the hummus:

In a food processor pulse the beetroot a few times on its own before adding the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini.  Pulse a few more times and then slowly add the olive oil whilst continuing to blend. Season and pulse again one last time until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle over some olive oil and a sprinkling of hulled hemp seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

NUTRITION INFORMATION BEETROOT HUMMUS PER 1/6th of recipe
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
143 10g 4.1g 13.6g 3.3g 4g
A source of protein, fiber, folic acid, manganese, potassium and essential fatty acids. 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

IRRESISTIBLE CURRY-ROASTED ALMONDS – SNACK

Whole nuts and seeds are some of the best snack foods you can eat. Despite being high in fat they are incredibly nutrient dense, to the extent that nuts and seeds rank 3rd in the top 10 most nutrient dense foods (it should please you to know that cacao also made the cut!).  In fact evidence indicates that nut consumers have a lower BMI (body mass index) and nuts contribute to weight control due to their strong satiety effects.

Almonds are a favourite due to their impressive nutrient profile. A 1-ounce serving (about 28g grams) provides 6g protein, 3.5g fiber and over 30% of the recommended daily allowance of antioxidant vitamin E and manganese – a mineral with multiple superpowers, including helping antioxidants to function properly and controlling blood sugar levels.

This recipe makes about 10 handfuls and can be stored in an airtight glass jar for weeks. These are deliciously crunchy with a hint of sweet and salt, making them ever-so-slightly irresistible so stick to a cupped handful (which provides an average serving). Squirrel them away in your desk drawer and grab a handful during the afternoon to see you through until dinner.

(makes 2.5 cups: approx.10x 1oz servings)

Ingredients

  • 250g whole almonds
  • 30g coconut shavings
  • 1 heaped tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp optima raw virgin organic coconut oil* (at room temperature i.e. liquid)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (or 2 Tbsp nua naturals coconut palm sugar*)
  • 1/2 Tbsp medium-hot curry powder
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 170 Celsius (325 Fahrenheit). Line a large baking tray with parchment.
  • In a large bowl mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, curry powder, chilli and sea salt flakes. Add the almonds, coconut and sesame seeds.  Mix well ensuring the nuts are well coated.
  • Spread the mixture in one layer onto the baking tray and put into the oven. Roast for about 25 minutes (check after 15 minutes to ensure the coconut is not burning, cover with foil if necessary).
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. As the mixture cools the nuts will become crunchy!
  • Store in cool place, in an airtight glass jar.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER 1 ounce serving
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
147 12.7g 6.2g 6.5g 3.3g 3.8g
A source of protein, fiber, magnesium, manganese & vitamin E

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

FANCY GRANOLA – BREAKFAST

Dark weekday mornings in January are gloomy enough without having to face a bad breakfast as well.  My fancy granola may not be for everyday but it really satisfies a craving for something crunchy without compromising your health goals, and it makes Monday mornings feel that little bit special!

Oats are a simple, cheap and nutritious breakfast option but I like to use a combination of oats and buckwheat flakes for added nutritional value and to reduce the proportion of grain (buckwheat is actually a seed). You can just as easily use 100% oats, or try adding millet flakes, quinoa or puffed rice.

Nuts and seeds offer a variety of health benefits, as well as providing essential fats and protein that help to keep you satisfied between meals, regulate blood sugar and sustain your energy levels.

You can pick up a jar of coconut oil in your local Lloyds Pharmacy as well as some other ingredients like chia and hemp seeds.  Nua Naturals has launched a delicious berry mix with cacao nibs that is packed with vitamin B, magnesium, calcium and potassium, so I added a few handfuls for a little sweetness.  You could also just chop some dried apricots, dried dates or dried blueberries or you could leave out the dried fruit entirely to reduce the sugar content.

(makes 18 servings. 1 serving = 40g)

  • 200g buckwheat flakes
  • 200g jumbo oats
  • 100g mixed nuts (I like walnut and pecan)
  • 100g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia*, hemp*)
  • 25g coconut flakes
  • 80g Nua Naturals Super Berry Mix (gogi berries, white mulberries, cacao nibs, black mulberries)*
  • 80ml melted coconut oil*
  • 100ml agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

Equipment: oven, large roasting tray

Step by Step

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.
  2. Put the oats and buckwheat flakes into a large bowl. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix until well coated.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly over the baking tray and put into the oven.
  4. After about 10 minutes remove the oats & buckwheat flakes from the oven and give them a quick stir. At this stage you can add the mixed nuts and seeds to the tray, stir again and place back into the oven for another 8 – 10 minutes.
  5. When the oats are nicely golden remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Add the coconut flakes and super berry mix and mix well.
  6. Once the granola is cool transfer it to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. It should last (but probably won’t!) for up to a month.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add 30g to a cup of unsweetened natural yogurt for breakfast.
  • Add a small handful of granola to a cup of full fat greek yogurt or coconut yogurt.
  • Serve with almond, hemp or coconut milk and fresh blueberries.
  • Put a few handfuls into a mini-glass airtight jar and keep in your desk drawer or gym bag for a quick afternoon or post workout snack.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER 40g SERVING
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
210 11g 4.7g 30g 13g 2.3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

WALNUT BREAD WITH DATE & CINNAMON ‘JAM’ – SNACK

Not just that little knobbly nut you used the pick off the top of your walnut whip as a kid, walnuts are an underrated, yet nutritious package of protein, healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Eating just a small handful of whole walnuts every day could help to control body weight as well as helping to reduce chronic inflammation in the body which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.

The essential fatty acid found in walnuts is called ALA (alpha linolenic acid). ALA is an omega-3 fat that can significantly reduce fasting insulin levels over a period of about 3 months in people with type 2 diabetes as well as notable improvements in the composition of blood fats.

This is a great recipe to try at the weekend and save individual slices to eat during the week as an afternoon snack. Of course you could very easily just grab a handful of walnuts and a piece of fruit but sometimes we need something a little extra special to keep us on track…especially with the prospect of multiple delicious topping options!

(makes a loaf, approx. 10-12 slices)

For the bread

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 4 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds*
  • 1 tbsp Chia Bia ground chia seeds (or flax seeds)*
  • 1 tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Equipment: food processor, large bowl, loaf tin, oven

Step by Step

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 F). Grease a loaf tin using a little coconut oil*.

  1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and blend until they form a paste (usually takes about 5-8 minutes).
  2. Transfer the walnut paste to a large bowl and stir in the eggs and maple syrup until well combined (you could also just add the eggs and syrup to the food processor bowl and pulse to combine).
  3. Add the ground almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and baking powder and stir with a spatula (the mixture will still be quite wet).
  4. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. You know its cooked when a skewer comes out clean and a crack forms down the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before slicing.

Tip: the bread stores well in an airtight container the fridge for about 1-2 weeks but you can cut and wrap individual slices in parchment / clingfilm and freeze for up to 1 month, defrosting/toasting them only as needed.

Serving options:  Date & Cinnamon Jam

Soak 20 deseeded dates in a half cup hot water to soften. Add 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon and using a hand blender to make a paste.  Store for up to 1 month in an airtight jar in your fridge. Makes about 12 servings (teaspoons).

  • Try this bread with an ounce of good quality mature Cheddar cheese or soft brie cheese and sliced fresh figs.
  • For a quick breakfast spread with a little Meridian almond butter* and top with some sliced banana.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE SERVING (1 slice)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
153 13.6g 5.7g 4.1g 1.8g 1.6g
A source of folic acid, vitamin B6, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

HAZELNUT MOCHA SMOOTHIE – BREAKFAST

I always recommend starting the day with some protein and fat to fuel your body and brain through a busy morning.  But you needn’t limit yourself to eggs.

Protein powders are versatile and provide all the essential amino acids required by the body. It’s important to choose your brand wisely though, as some have added sugar, poor quality preservatives and inflammatory sources of protein such as genetically modified soy proteins. Plantforce Synergy Vegan Protein available in Lloyds Pharmacies nationwide is a perfect blend of rice, pea and hemp protein suitable for those following dairy- and gluten-free diets.

Whether you’re off to work, the gym, an exam or on the go all day this smoothie will help to sustain you right up to lunch time, and the cheeky caffeine hit will help to boost performance. Coffee is often targeted as an unhealthy beverage as it is a stimulant that increases cortisol release (the stress hormone) in the body.  But its effect is relatively mild. Used strategically, and not to artificially prop your energy levels throughout the day, caffeine can increase physical performance, concentration and focus. When it comes to caffeine, the dose really does make the poison!

(makes 1 serving)

  • 1/2 or 1 banana, peeled (use 1/2 banana to reduce sugar content)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate Plantforce Synergy Protein Powder (if you already purchased the vanilla flavour,  then add a heaped tablespoon of Nua Natural Cacao Powder)*
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Meridian Hazelnut butter (or almond butter)*
  • 150ml almond milk
  • 100ml water
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp medium roast coffee granules

Superfood Boost (Optional): add a heaped teaspoon of Nua Naturals Energy Smoothie Booster*

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores.

Equipment: blender

Instructions: put all the ingredients into a blender cup and blend until smooth. For a quick breakfast you can fill the blender the night before, pop a few ice cubes the next morning and quickly blend so its ready in less than a minute.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
333 13g 21g 35g 14g 7.4g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA